A Blood Bath

[jwplayer mediaid=”37142″]

The Station Casinos food and beverage department seems to have a lot of fun; they work hard, but they don’t take themselves so seriously that work becomes a vampire, sucking the life out of them. I especially love how they celebrate holidays with outrageous cocktails. When I arrived at the Charcoal Room in Santa Fe Station to try the Halloween special—a molecular gastronomy-inspired “blood” sphere—I was greeted by the ghost of dinner past, a chicken skeleton baked in molasses to give it that juicy mummy look. Festooned with blood oranges for effect, mummy-chicken was destined to freak out someone in the department. This place knows how to party!

Chef Johannes Bernau is serious as the tomb: “Food, cocktails … They are the same to me: I am only limited by my imagination and physics.” He took me through the spherification process, which basically involves dropping the cocktail base into an align bath—like dropping cookie dough onto a pan—and then retrieving the result. In this case, it’s a plump, blood-red blob filled with orange-flavor vodka, and blood orange, raspberry and lemon juices. The gelatinous casing bursts in your mouth not unlike those Gushers fruit chews that once wreaked havoc on so many braces. I can tell you, the adult version is sooo much better.

Vampire’s Blood Spheres

As served at the Charcoal Room in Santa Fe Station on Halloween, three for $5

To make the alginate bath, combine 5 grams sodium alginate (Algin, 500 grams, $42, ArtisanalFoods.com), 1 liter filtered water and 50 grams sugar in a blender; set aside in a deep loaf pan for 4 hours or until the bubbles are gone. For the sphere base, combine 100 milliliters fresh blood orange juice, 50 milliliters fresh raspberry juice, 50 milliliters orange-flavored vodka, the juice of one lemon and 2½ grams calcium lactate gluconate (Gluco, 600 grams, $45, ArtisanalFoods.com) in a blender for one minute. Add ½ gram xanthan gum (Xantana, 600 grams, $57, ArtisanalFoods.com) as the blender is going; set aside in a bowl for 24 hours or until bubbles are gone. To make the spheres, drop one tablespoon of the sphere base into the alginate bath for 30 seconds; allow it to sink to the bottom. After 10 seconds, flip it over to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Gently retrieve the sphere with a slotted spoon and place in a bath of filtered water to stop the chemical reaction. Serve on a Chinese spoon garnished with edible silver dust or store briefly in non-flavored oil.

Suggested Next Read

‘Gimme the Usual’

Cocktail Culture

‘Gimme the Usual’

By Xania Woodman

If you’re doing your sworn duty as a regular bar patron, one or more bartenders somewhere in this town should know your flavor and spirit preferences. More than just reflexively reaching for your usual as you file through the door and claim your usual seat, he or she should be able to guide you to similar drinks that might appeal to you or, under the best of circumstances, even create something original just for you. Me, I’m an easy mark: whiskey, artisan liqueurs and Italian amaros, stirred Negronis on the rocks with plenty of Campari and, more recently, craft beer.

DTLV

RunRebs